DON'T RELY ON BRANDIS TO GET CANAVAN OUT OF THIS MESS
Section 44: “Any person who is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, [or is a subject or a citizen] or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen [of a foreign power, shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives." (my black brackets)
It is neither legal nor fair to comment on current court cases, so I can’t say that the ABC has Buckley’s chance of nailing Pell, but I can say what our Constitution provides for, rightly or wrongly, in determining who can be legally elected to, and sit in, our Parliament.
The above is one of five salient conditions of Sec. 44, so how the hell can Attorney General, Senator George Brandis (above), suggest Senator Canavan, one of the few intelligent Senators available, has a way out of this. The part, “… or is a subject or a citizen…” is hard to argue with.
It mainly applies to war-time when we have no way to foresee who may be involved as an ally or a foe. We locked up thousands of innocent Japanese as prisoners of war in a Cowra gaol during WWII on the basis that they may be holding allegiances to their homeland.
We can’t be certain that any foe will not call up its citizens by decree to fight the enemy, which could conceivably be us. We cannot know what might be the extent of any called for spying activities or sabotaging of our war effort.
This is mostly bullshit of course as foreign allegiances are more affairs of the heart than mere paperwork. Taxpayer financed TV channels should support the compulsory learning of English for a start to correcting a person falsely favouring any foreign allegiance above ours. But they don't.
Nevertheless the Constitution is inviolable and cannot be changed except by way of a referendum. If the High Court allows Canavan to remain as a Senator, a rash of other cases will follow. It will be a dog’s breakfast because High Court decisions must always adhere to the Constitution, and there is no automatic right of appeal.
On this matter the Constitution is crystal clear. And changing the Constitution is about as easy as changing the ABC.
As with other laws, ignorance cannot be an excuse for defiance. This ain’t over yet, not by a long shot, even if the High Court rightly throws out Canavan’s submission.
Also, the Constitution has no codicils nor addenda that allow for unsigned forms or meddling mothers.